A remarkable teach-by-example collection of interviews that shatters the popular myth, at least among practicing journalists, that the question-and-answer format is the telltale sign of a lazy writer. It doesn't take more than a few pages into journalist Dreifus's collection to see why she has risen to the rank of ``interviewer of choice'' for the venerable New York Times Sunday Magazine after cutting her teeth with publications such as Playboy (where she was a regular interviewer for over ten years), Premiere, Modern Maturity, and the Progressive (all the pieces here first appeared in these publications). Witty, gutsy, wily, Dreifus knows both how to get her man or woman and then how to lure them into revealing emotions and thoughts usually reserved for one's closest friends. Dreifus discusses the art behind good Q&As in her introduction, where she notes, among other points, the necessity of good preparation and the complicit seduction that must take place- -on the part of the interviewer and the interviewee—for things to really sizzle. The interviews themselves, in many cases expanded from the original, provide marvelous examples of her art in action. In the chapter called ``Saints,'' for instance, the Dalai Lama admits to dreaming about sex and to a fascination with tanks, warships, and German U-boats. In her interview with former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Dreifus compels Bhutto to defend her record on women's reforms. Others who alternately squirm and schmooze with Dreifus include actor Richard Dreyfuss, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman John Shalikashvili, ACLU president Nadine Strossen, and gay congressman Barney Frank. Infinitely more than just a how-to for writers or journalist wannabes. Expertly written, these minidramas will rivet anyone interested in human nature and the intricacies of how people communicate. (Author tour)

Pub Date: June 20, 1997

ISBN: 1-888363-42-8

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Seven Stories

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1997

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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